Acupuncture has become more popular in recent years, but many people still don’t understand what type of medicine it is. Apart from the fact that it uses needles and comes from China, there is a lot of confusion surrounding acupuncture and how it works.
Part of the problem is that there is not one simple answer to the question “what type of medicine is acupuncture?” There are several possible explanations, all of which can help you to understand acupuncture as a whole.
In this article, we will attempt to clear up some of the most common misconceptions about what kind of medicine acupuncture is and why an increasing number of people are using it to address a variety of health issues.
What Type of Medicine is Acupuncture?
If you asked five different acupuncturists about what type of medicine they practice, it is entirely possible that you would get five, very different answers. This is because there is no clear-cut answer to the question “what type of medicine is acupuncture?”
However, there are some answers which are definitely more common than others. Let’s take a look at each one and discuss exactly what they mean.#1. Acupuncture is a Chinese Medicine
Acupuncture is one of the ‘pillars’ of Chinese medicine along with herbal medicine, massage, moxibustion, and qi gong. Being a form of Chinese medicine means more than just originating in China though. It means that acupuncture is based on ancient principles such as yin and yang, qi, and meridians.
Because Chinese medicine views the body in a very different way from western medicine, it is a great solution for hard-to-diagnose conditions and can effectively treat some problems which western medicine struggles to relieve.
#2. Acupuncture is a Holistic Medicine
The word ‘holistic’ is related to the word ‘whole.’ So, saying that acupuncture is a holistic medicine means that it looks at the body in its entirety. Holistic medicines do not view each symptom in isolation, but see them all as connected to one another, forming a larger pattern of illness throughout the body.
For example, if you went to a western doctor about your headaches and you also suffer from indigestion, they would probably treat these as two separate problems and prescribe you two sets of medication.
However, an acupuncturist would see these two symptoms as being connected, no matter how different they may seem. They would then treat your whole body to resolve both symptoms, rather than addressing them one at a time.
#3. Acupuncture is a Mind-Body Medicine
Another key feature of acupuncture is that it does not see the body and mind as being separated from one another. Physical and mental wellbeing are closely connected and an illness in either one can cause symptoms in the other.
Western medicine is finally catching up to this idea as it now recognizes stress as a major cause of disease. Acupuncture, on the other hand, has known about this relationship for thousands of years!#4. Acupuncture is an Alternative Medicine
The term ‘alternative medicine’ is sometimes associated with unusual practices such as crystal healing or past life regression.
However, what it really means is that a medicine can be used as an alternative to conventional treatment methods.
In this sense, acupuncture can be considered an alternative medicine as it provides a way to treat certain medical conditions without the need for drugs and their associated side effects.
#5. Acupuncture is a Complementary Medicine
Many people prefer the term ‘complementary medicine’ to ‘alternative medicine’ when describing acupuncture. Although these words are sometimes used interchangeably, there is a subtle difference in their meanings.
Whereas ‘alternative’ suggests that acupuncture can be used to replace conventional treatments, ‘complementary’ means that two medicines can be used side by side in order to enhance their effects.
There are some conditions where drugs or surgery are necessary, no matter how much you might not want to take them. In these cases, acupuncture can work well as an additional therapy, either to make your medicine work better or help you to manage the side effects.
What Type of Medicine is Acupuncture? The Bottom Line
These are some of the phrases that are typically used to describe what type of medicine acupuncture is. However, there are many other possibilities too! We hope that this article has helped to improve your understanding of acupuncture and made things a little more clear-cut. However, if you are still confused, simply get in touch and we will be more than happy to help!